Hamas Huggers

Not that we were in any doubt regarding the Guardian’s already well established propensity for Hamas hugging, given its sycophantic obituary of Nizar Ryan and  its record of providing a platform for Hamas leaders and supporters , but its publication of Laila El- Haddad’s latest venture into the parallel universe of Hamas revisionism on September 16th was really quite something to behold as she attempted to persuade readers to accept a mirror vision of facts and reality.

Addressing the subject of the ongoing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, El-Haddad, having apparently expanded the Freedman School of Journalism’s guidelines to include shop keepers and fishermen in the ranks of ‘Middle East Analysts Wielding Authority on Comment is Free’ (makes a nice change from taxi drivers), informs us that:

“There is very little patience in Gaza for this latest set of talks. They are not only being conducted without a national consensus by what is broadly considered an illegitimate government, but they also completely marginalise the Gaza Strip and overlook the blockade and asphyxiation it has suffered for more than four years.”

That, of course, completely overlooks the fact that even before the ink was dry on the invitation lists to these latest talks, Hamas – in line with the predictable approach of its Iranian funders – came out in strong rejection of them, launching both verbal and physical attacks designed to make its position entirely clear to all, except apparently Leila El-Haddad.

“Today, Abbas should be talking about creating a new government with legitimacy, one that takes into account the voices of the people, and makes decisions with them. He should not just be negotiating on his own volition, based on whatever pops into his head and the [heads of the] Ramallah gang.”

“I really don’t understand what kind of strange political muddle we are in that has Abbas agreeing to negotiations without preconditions with the Israelis, and yet refusing to negotiate under the same circumstances with Hamas.”

Obviously El-Haddad’s interviewees have missed a few tricks here, including the refusal by Hamas to play ball on the subject of new elections both at the municipal level and at the level of the Legislative Council and Presidency.  Abbas’ term of office indeed ended in January 2009, but as long as Hamas opposes the holding of new elections, the illegitimacy of his or anyone else’s hold on office cannot be corrected. Of course the 76 out of 132 seats in the Legislative Council won by Hamas in 2006 in what was erroneously described by some elements of the media as a ‘landslide victory’ were also due for re-election in January 2010, so when Hamas supporters point out that Abbas has no mandate, they are engaging in more than a little selective thinking, which is probably necessary under their ‘one man, one vote, once’ idea of democracy.

Likewise with the claim that the blame for the failure to achieve reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah is to be laid at the door of one party only; over the years Hamas has made considerable efforts to scupper those talks too.

“….. talks between the warring Hamas and Fatah factions broke down in Cairo, and failed to produce a national unity government. With heads hung low, Egyptian mediators told the factions’ representatives to return to their respective fiefdoms in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip until a new round of diplomacy is announced.

Hamas has been offered everything from open Gaza borders, access to hundreds of millions of dollars in international aid and the release of its jailed fighters. In return, the Islamist group that controls Gaza was asked to join an interim government made up of both rival factions until new elections are held.

The problem for Hamas was that a unity government would lump the Islamist group into a broader coalition of Palestinian factions, and thereby force it to dilute its intractable position of seeking the destruction of the State of Israel. Moreover, if Hamas agreed to these terms, it would mean turning its back on its primary patron, Iran.”

The most recent efforts to bring about reconciliation were also abandoned two and a half months ago:

“A Palestinian committee that was recently formed to find ways to end the crisis between Hamas and Fatah has disbanded after concluding that the gap between the rival parties is unbridgeable.”

“Members of the committee were scheduled to visit the Gaza Strip for talks with Hamas leaders about the crisis. However, the visit was canceled after Hamas announced that it would not receive the delegation.”

Predictably, El-Haddad attempts to blame Israel for the separation of Gaza from the rest of the autonomous Palestinian area, choosing to ignore any connection between the growing rift between the two regions and the bloody 2007 Hamas coup in Gaza, despite the fact that as an Al Jazeera reporter, she covered the inter factional fighting at the time.

The subject of power outages in Gaza appears to be one which occupies El-Haddad quite intensely on a personal level, as indicated by her numerous Tweets on the subject. Whilst one can sympathize with her obvious sense of deprivation – it must be quite a shock for someone used to an American standard of living – the repeated implication by omission in her article that this hardship has something to do with Israel conveniently ignores the real reasons for the intermittent power supply.

El-Haddad’s entire article is symptomatic of an approach which seeks to cleanse the Hamas enclave of any responsibility for the situation in which it finds itself. The ruling faction has over the last three years persistently rejected reconciliation with the internationally recognized representatives of the Palestinian people, rejected any compromise with Israel, cultivated its links with the extremist Islamist regime in Iran , made the lives of the people it rules a misery and chosen to express itself exclusively through violence and terrorism. Now El-Haddad and the editors at CiF seek to persuade us that this schoolyard bully is a victim because nobody wants to invite it to play dates.

Beyond the glaring insult to the intelligence of readers of El-Haddad’s ‘mirror image of reality’ article, the Guardian should be embarrassed about printing such an obvious piece of blatantly dishonest pro-Hamas propaganda. Evidently, that is not the case. Obviously CiF’s editors are so far gone down the road of cognitive dissonance trodden by so many Islamist apologists these days that they are somehow able to rationalize  their role as useful idiots for a repressive theocratic dictatorship whilst at the same time congratulating themselves as being ‘the world’s leading liberal voice’.

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